Editor: Doug Porter over at our online partner, San Diego Free Press, has hit the nail on the ol’ proverbial head with today’s column on the battle heating up over San Diego’s minimum wage ordinance.
The anti-minimum wage forces, boosted by Mayor Faulconer’s veto of the ordinance last week, plan on running a petition to overturn the anticipated City Council over-ride of Faulconer’s veto.
Today, Porter focuses on the political consultant hired to run the petition drive, and gives needed context and background to the whole battle – which is being fought nation-wide.
By Doug Porter
I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.
On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.
Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”
On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.
We got a little taste of how ‘reasonable’ these folks are yesterday with GOP consultant Jason Roe, who crashed an early morning press conference held by Raise Up San Diego.
Meet Political Consultant Jason Roe
As basketball great Bill Walton, former Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mel Katz and Councilman Todd Gloria announced a campaign supported by Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs urging city voters not to sign petitions seeking a referendum on the city’s new minimum wage and earned sick leave ordinance, Jason Roe of the Revolvis firm handed out press releases headlined “Labor Bosses Launch Voter Harassment Campaign.”
Roe’s release calls the decline to sign campaign a “brazen attempt to stifle free speech and disenfranchise voters.” Here’s some actual verbage:
“Today’s announcement of the new harassment campaign, an effort to bully voters who simply want to see this issue put on the ballot shows how worried the Labor Bosses are that their job-killing efforts are not supported by the very working people they claim to represent.”
The press release is packed with so many misrepresentations, it’s hard to know where to start. Did you know that a 75 cent increase in minimum on January 1st wage equals a 44% hike? That’s the number used three times by GOP consultant Roe…
Lets see… January 1, 2015…State Wage = $9.00 City Wage = $9.75. 75 cents equals 8.3% on my calculator. Oh wait, they mean 44% up from the old $8 minimum wage that has already been superseded by the new state law.
End All Minimum Wages?
Does that mean they want to roll back the state law? Oh well, we always knew the GOP was lousy at math. But they are great at lying.
Anybody want to bet on how many media outlets repeat this fraudulent 44% number as truth?
Jason Roe and his Revolvis firm have created a handy dandy Facebook page for their “non-profit” front group on this anti-minimum wage campaign.
The very first post to their timeline is an article from the extremely right wing Townhall.com about how stupid Americans are for letting ‘diseased illegal immigrants’ into the country. And it ends with talking about how great life is in Switzerland, where they don’t have a minimum wage. (The article doesn’t mention that wages in that country are typically negotiated through–gasp–collective bargaining.)
Wash that Minimum Wage Down with a Little Koch?
On August 12th, they posted an article from an outfit calling itself American Encore. If you manage to read all 2700 words of it, you’ll learn that increasing the minimum wage will make us all poorer. (Just like it did every other time it was raised…Oh, wait! That didn’t happen!)
American Encore used to be called the Center to Protect Patient Rights(CPPR). As you should know by now, that if it’s right wing propaganda you’re talking about, the Koch brothers are somewhere nearby.
The Center for Responsive Politics has called CPPR the “linchpin in one of the most complex networks of dark money in the country,” a network spearheaded by the Koch brothers. The network — which is charted in this graphic – included 17 allied conservative organizations that together raised at least $407 million for the 2012 elections. The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets Blog won a 2013 Sigma Delta Chi public service award from the Society of Professional Journalists for its reports on dark money groups.
Half of the Worst Person in the World Award
You might remember hearing about Jason Roe as Carl DeMaio’s strategist in his losing campaign for mayor back in 2012. inewsource did a post-mortem wrap up on the various consultants involved.
When a friend called late one night to tell Jason Roe that political commentator Keith Olbermann had just labeled him the worst person in the world on national TV, Roe had one question:
“Did they use a good picture?”
That’s the kind of guy he is.
The 42-year old founding partner of national consulting firm Revolvis is confident, by admission juvenile, successful, relatively young for his profession, and worst of all — smart.
His company refuses to take on liberal clients, and in doing so, suffered a trouncing this election day between the firm’s 20 politicians. He’s not sure who he’ll take on in the immediate future, or what he’ll do.
Mocking A Vet With No Legs
From Daily Kos, how it came to be that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann awarded Roe one half of the “Worse Persons in the World” honor:
We reported that Illinois congressional candidate Peter Roskam had said his opponent Tammy Duckworth wanted to “cut and run from Iraq” even though she lost both her legs there while serving as a helicopter pilot. Jason Row [sic] from the Roskam campaign charged us with intellectual dishonesty because Roskam merely said that the Illinois sixth is “not a cut and run district.”
Hey pal, this is about campaigning against a woman who has no legs because they were cut off while she served in Iraq and still being insensitive enough to use the phrase “cut and run.” You leave the intellectual to us, we`ll leave the dishonest to you.
Peter Roskam and staffer, Jason Row, today`s “Worst Persons in the World.”
But Wait! There’s More Sleaze!
Signs indicate things are getting worse, and quickly, for one of Congress’ most corrupt members, Rep. Tom Feeney, a once-powerful Florida Republican whose extensive career of documented lies, political favors, and routine partisan smear-mongering The BRAD BLOG has covered in great detail over the last two and a half years….
…Further news reports indicate much more trouble may be ahead for the beleaguered Congressman, as Abramoff is said to be chattering away to federal investigators — “so much he doesn’t have time to eat,” according to one news report — in hopes of reducing a prison sentence he’s currently facing in relation to conspiracy fraud charges to which he’s already plead guilty in Florida.
But if that weren’t indication enough that Feeney may be in big trouble, it’s also now being reported this morning that his former Chief of Staff, Jason Roe — who, along with his wife, Patricia, has also been the target of corruption allegations — abruptly resigned from his new position as Deputy Campaign Manager for Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Amusingly, the reason he cited for the resignation was “familial obligations.”
Jason Roe has gotten some good press lately, as the strategist hired for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s campaign after a room full of millionaires, meeting in La Jolla, picked him as their guy. Roe has been bragging in all the right places about how his crew used fear to drive the vote in a low turn-out election… …Slickly packaged fear, of course.
The Real Irony
What is amazing are the cajones Roe and his cohorts have in trying to frame their attempt to sabotage the minimum wage increase as a fight against union bullies. The so-called small business coalition is nothing less than a front for a power grab sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, corporate ‘hospitality’ groups and fast food companies.
Their core message (increasing the minimum wage will make working people poorer) is being wrapped in packaging by these consultants designed to make voters think they care about representative democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This attempt at a referendum will be the fourth such effort sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and their allies in the past two years using a big dollar propaganda campaign to persuade voters to overrule their elected representatives.
Earlier efforts included paving the way for urban WalMart locations, eliminating partial restoration of a linkage fee on large construction projects for an affordable housing fund, and overturning the Barrio Logan Community Plan. (Note that earlier promises by the Chamber, et. al., to address injustices at the core of these legislative attempts have gone exactly nowhere.)
If they win this battle at the ballot box (it likely won’t be voted on until June, 2016) it will be the death-knell for representative government at the local level. Why bother even having a city council if unpopular actions can be vetoed any time the Chamber opens its war chest?
A National Impact
You can bet this referendum effort will be watched nationally by groups like the American City County Exchange, the new hyper-local offshoot of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a group that promotes corporate interests through cookie cutter legislation. As I said earlier:
Since 2011 ALEC and National Restaurant Associated backed legislation has led eleven states to pass laws thwarting local control through paid sick day preemption laws.
They’re the people behind “Stand Your Ground” legislation, voter ID restrictions, and laws prohibiting videotaping in factory farm operations. Most recently ALEC is engaging in a national effort to increase costs for Americans–they call them Freeloaders– who have invested in solar panels for their homes and businesses.
We can only hope that others on the national scene understand the significance of this campaign. With the Party of No control of the Congress firmly in place, the place for the minimum wage battle to be fought is at the local level.
A Historic Battle
The battle for a minimum wage increase in San Diego is symbolic of the struggle between plutocracy and representative democracy nationwide.
As Robert L. Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future recently declared:
Money is speech, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court has ruled, and it is speaking with a bullhorn.
We know that the only counter to organized money is mobilized people. Our democracy is the only protection from corrupted oligopoly. Conservatives who believe that markets will protect us don’t understand markets or political economy.
We know that we live in a populist moment. The Great Recession exposed the ideas and shibboleths of conservatism – whether Reaganomics or Rubinomics – as bankrupt. There was a “flaw,” as former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan fleetingly admitted, in the world view.
The known unknown is whether the democracy can save us again, whether the people can call the entrenched interests and wealth to account. Americans, as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has stated, understand that the rules are rigged, the game is fixed to favor the few. The unknown is whether a movement will grow to clean out Washington and make the government an instrument of the common good, rather than the private interest.
Got a few extra bucks?
The craft brewers at Modern Times are hosting a benefit for minimum wage advocates on Wednesday, August 20th. A benefit, as in the good guys need your help.
Here’s the info:
Join Us for a Happy Hour at Modern Times Flavordome in North Park to make sure the Ordinance stands. Proceeds go to the effort to protect the measure.
Modern Times is a leading supporter of the earned sick days and minimum wage measure.
CO-HOSTS: Jeremy Addis-Mills, Gil Cabrera, Kirsten Clemons, John Greenwell, Lucas O’Connor, Colin Parent, Jared Quient, Johanna Schiavoni, Sid Voorakkara, Chris Ward, Sarah Boot, Robert Nothoff, Nora E Vargas (Co-Host: $100)
Suggested Donation: $50 * August 20, 2014, 6- 8pm * Modern Times Flavordome, 3000 Upas St, San Diego, CA 92104
This was from Doug Porter’s daily column at San Diego Free Press.